Week 4 NFL Game Previews: Late Games


Photo Courtesy of Robert Robinson @badasskidsent


Seattle Seahawks (1-2) vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-3)


Preview

The Cardinals showed their first signs of life early last week, but let the game slip away after five turnovers. Josh Rosen relieved an underwhelming Sam Bradford, but forced passes and recorded two interceptions. Rosen looks to make his first career start Sunday afternoon, and with Earl Thomas heading to Arizona, the rookie may have a long day coming. Both teams need wins to stay alive in the early goings of the season, and there is a lot to look forward to in this clash of division rivals.


Players to watch

Josh Rosen will be looking to Christian Kirk early — the receiver has the potential and opportunity to become Rosen’s number 1 target even with future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald still on the field. Frank Clark is currently third in the NFL with 3 sacks, and he has a chance to torment the rookie early and often, while Earl Thomas can play ball hawk in the secondary. Russell Wilson has no supporting cast and one of the worst offensive lines in football, but he continues to produce on the field. It will be interesting to see what he can overcome next. The Seahawks have had a shortage of offensive playmakers, but Doug Baldwin will be back come back from injury and make his first start since spraining his MCL in week 1 of the regular season.


Keys to the game

Seattle Seahawks

  • Pressure Josh Rosen

  • Force turnovers

  • Stop David Johnson

  • Get an early lead

Arizona Cardinals

  • Get David Johnson involved

  • Establish the run game

  • Pressure Russell Wilson

  • Win the turnover battle


Injury list

Seattle Seahawks

  • Shamar Stephen, DT - Foot (Questionable)

  • Doug Baldwin, WR - Knee (Questionable)

  • Chris Carson, RB - Hip (Questionable)

  • Delano Hill, SS - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Dion Jordan, DE - Hip (Questionable)

  • Ethan Pocic, C/G - Ankle (Doubtful)

  • C.J. Prosise, RB - Abdomen (Doubtful)

  • Rasheem Green, DE - Ankle (Out)

  • K.J. Wright, LB - Knee (Out)

Arizona Cardinals

  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR - Thumb (Questionable)

  • Jermaine Gresham, TE - Achilles (Questionable)

  • Robert Nkemdiche, DT - Knee (Questionable)

  • Olsen Pierre, DT - Toe (Questionable)

  • Corey Peters, DT - Elbow (Questionable)

  • Andre Smith, OL - Elbow (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Russell Wilson, QB (SEA)

  • Seahawks D/ST

  • Tyler Lockett, WR (SEA)

  • David Johnson, RB (ARI)

  • Christian Kirk, WR (ARI)


Prediction

The Cardinals offense has been terrible throughout the first three weeks of the season, and the coaching staff has failed to get David Johnson involved. The Seahawks are in good position to dominate this game early, as they are currently ranked second in the league with 8 total turnovers. Josh Rosen will struggle in his first start, and it is unlikely Arizona captures their first win on Sunday.


Final Score: Seahawks 24, Cardinals 13


Written by: Jason Feiner



Cleveland Browns (1-1-1) vs. Oakland Raiders (0-3)


Preview

The Browns come into this one riding high off their first win in two years. Their defense has been strong all season, and now that rookie Baker Mayfield has taken over at QB, maybe the offense will catch up. On the other side, the Raiders are still looking for their first win of the season. They’ve been in some close games but haven’t been able to produce when it counts. Cleveland will come into a very hostile environment in Oakland, and this should be a very close game.


Players to watch

The key player to watch for the Browns is rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. Baker was named the starter this week after leading the Browns to victory last week over the Jets. It will be interesting to see if him and Jarvis Landry can get a nice rhythm going. Myles Garrett will look to exploit Oakland’s suspect offensive line and make Derek Carr uncomfortable. Running back Marshawn Lynch will have to lead the charge, and Amari Cooper and Jared Cook will play a big role in opening up the field. Browns rookie Denzel Ward will have something to say about that.


Keys to the game

Cleveland Browns

  • Put pressure on Carr

  • Establish the run

  • Protect Baker Mayfield

Oakland Raiders

  • Protect Carr

  • Get Martavis Bryant involved

  • Limit turnovers


Injury list

Cleveland Browns

  • Tyrod Taylor, QB - Concussion (Questionable)

  • Damarious Randall, SS - Heel (Questionable)

  • Seth DeValve, TE - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • James Burgess, OLB - MCL (Out)

Oakland Raiders

  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • PJ Hall, NT - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Karl Joseph, DB - Hamstring (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Jarvis Landry, WR (CLE)

  • Marshawn Lynch, RB (OAK)

  • Amari Cooper, WR (OAK)

  • Jordy Nelson, WR (OAK)

  • Carlos Hyde, RB (CLE)


Prediction

This game will be an extremely close one. It will be a shootout between Mayfield and Carr. I strongly believe that whoever has the ball last will win the game, and I have the Browns winning with a last second field goal, giving Baker his first win as a starting QB.


Final Score: Browns 24, Raiders 21


Written by: Ryan Lippert



New Orleans Saints (2-1) vs. New York Giants (1-2)


Preview

This matchup is certainly an important one for both teams. The Saints come off a grueling shootout Week 3 OT win over the Falcons and the Giants come off their first win of the season last week against the Texans. The Saints will be looking to continue their offensive explosion by exploiting weaknesses in the Giants secondary. The Giants will look to continue firing on all offensive cylinders as they did last week. Their goal is definitely to keep the rhythm going in the passing game and not rely solely on the talent of Barkley. Given their opposition, they will also look to contain the Saints’ incredibly impressive offense. This is definitely one of the more interesting matchups of the week, with both teams desperate to keep pace in what looks to be two incredibly competitive divisions.


Players to watch

Odell Beckham Jr. had a bounce-back game against the Texans after a quiet Week 2, and will be essential to keeping pace with the Saints. Linebacker Alec Ogletree will be key to shutting down the short-to-mid range passing game that was so effective for the explosive Alvin Kamara last week against the Falcons. On that note, cornerback Janoris Jenkins will also be a key to shutting down the Saints leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, Michael Thomas. Finally, in order to disrupt the offensive rhythm that the Giants found last week, the Saints defensive linemen will need to win at the line of scrimmage against the vulnerable Giants offensive line. Key to this strategy is the Saints’ current leader in sacks (4 on the season), Cameron Jordan, who will need to both shut down Barkley and pressure Manning.


Keys to the game

New Orleans Saints

  • Contain Barkley

  • Protect Brees

  • Get off to a fast start

New York Giants

  • Get pressure in the backfield

  • Protect Eli

  • Tire out the Saints D with Barkley


Injury list

New Orleans Saints

  • Marcus Davenport, DE - Hip (Questionable)

  • Manti Te’o, LB - Knee (Out)

New York Giants

  • Eli Apple, CB - Groin (Out)

  • Evan Engram, TE (Knee) (Out)

  • Antonio Hamilton, CB - Groin (Questionable)

  • Stacy Coley, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Cody Latimer, WR - Knee (Out)

  • Jonathan Stewart, RB - Foot (Out)

  • Olivier Vernon, LB - Ankle (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Alvin Kamara, RB (NO)

  • Michael Thomas, WR (NO)

  • Drew Brees, QB (NO)

  • Saquon Barkley, RB (NYG)

  • Odell Beckham Jr., WR (NYG)


Prediction

I definitely do not expect the Saints to put up the ridiculous 40+ point game numbers that they have been. This both because I think their offense will be slightly physically and mentally drained this week after a long OT game last week, and because the Giants defense will be able to contain them somewhat. However, the Giants don’t have the offense firepower to keep up with Brees and Co., and will certainly let allow some big plays on defense. The Giants have enough weapons to exploit the Saints defense so I expect a relatively close game, but the Saints will ultimately come out on top.


Final Score: Saints 27, Giants 21


Written by: Phil Salmo



San Francisco 49ers (1-2) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)


Preview

This game has the makings of a blowout, with the 49ers losing their star QB Jimmy Garoppolo last week to a torn ACL and facing a pretty solid Chargers defense. After three very difficult matchups the Chargers are looking to get back on track and increase their record to .500. Their offense has been performing well and the 49ers defense has struggled heavily. Unless CJ Beathard shocks us all, the 49ers could be in for a long day.


Players to watch

For the Chargers, Philip Rivers will be looking to have a great game against this 49ers secondary. It will be interesting to see if him and Mike Williams can keep their connection going. Austin Ekeler might see a lot of work if the game gets put away early. Hopefully Chris Landrum and Melvin Ingram can get going and make up for some lost Joey Bosa production. With Garoppolo out, the 49ers will be looking to their ground game. Look for both Matt Breida and Alfred Morris to be relied on heavily in this one. Richard Sherman is out for the 49ers, which means Jimmie Ward and Ahkello Witherspoon must step up against these talented LA receivers.


Keys to the game

San Francisco 49ers

  • Get the ground game going

  • Get pressure on Rivers

  • Give Beathard some early confidence

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Attack Beathard

  • Make them beat you through the air

  • Get Rivers going early


Injury list

San Francisco 49ers

  • Alfred Morris, RB - Knee (Questionable)

  • Jaquiski Tartt, FS - Shoulder (Doubtful)

  • Joshua Garnett, G - Toe (Out)

  • Richard Sherman, CB - Calf (Out)

  • Adrian Colbert, S - Hip (Questionable)

  • Matt Breida, RB - Knee (Questionable)

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Kyzir White, LB - Knee (Out)

  • Keenan Allen, WR - Knee (Questionable)

  • Joey Bosa, DE - Foot (Out)

  • Joe Barksdale, T - Knee (Out)

  • Travis Benjamin, WR - Foot (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Philip Rivers, QB (LAC)

  • Melvin Gordon, RB (LAC)

  • Matt Breida, RB (SF)

  • Keenan Allen, WR (LAC)

  • Mike Williams, WR (LAC)


Prediction

The 49ers just simply won’t have enough on offense to keep up with the talent on the Chargers’ side of the ball. Their defense is missing Richard Sherman and Jaquiski Tartt, and LA will take advantage of that depleted secondary. The Chargers must just avoid getting complacent like the Vikings did against the Bills two weeks ago. I have the Chargers running away with this one behind a big performance from Rivers.


Final Score: Chargers 35, 49ers 7


Written by: Ryan Lippert



Baltimore Ravens (2-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1)


Preview

The Ravens head to Pittsburgh for a huge Sunday Night Football matchup this week. It is almost a must-win divisional game for the Steelers, as they would drop almost 2 games behind the Ravens if they lost. The Steelers have won the previous 3 contests between the two rivals. The winner of the game Sunday night should feel great about their position in the division after the first 4 games of the season.


Players to watch

The Ravens have to find a way to drive the ball down the field through the air. The Steelers are very susceptible to big plays against their pass defense. Because of this, I look for John Brown to have a big game on Sunday night. The closer the Ravens get to the endzone, the better the chance of Joe Flacco giving Michael Crabtree an opportunity to make a play. The Steelers they will be looking to utilize JuJu Smith-Schuster across the middle of the field. I look for the Ravens to make sure that Antonio Brown can’t beat them, so that will give James Conner the opportunity to catch a few passes out of the backfield as well.


Keys to the game

Baltimore Ravens

  • Establish the run

  • Stop big plays in their pass defense

  • Negate easy passes to Connor out of the backfield

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Work the middle of the field in the passing game

  • Get Big Ben going early

  • Stop the run


Injury list

Baltimore Ravens

  • Anthony Averett, CB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Willie Henry, DL - Abdomen (Out)

  • Hayden Hurst, TE - Foot (Questionable)

  • Terrell Suggs, LB - Knee (Questionable)

  • Brandon Carr, CB - Knee (Questionable)

  • Ronnie Stanley, OT - Foot (Questionable)

  • Anthony Levine, DB/LB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • CJ Mosley, LB - Knee (Questionable)

  • Michael Pierce, DT - Foot (Questionable)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Morgan Burnett, S- Groin (Out)

  • Mike Hilton, CB- Elbow (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)

  • James Conner, RB (PIT)

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR (PIT)

  • John Brown, WR (BAL)

  • Michael Crabtree, WR (BAL)


Prediction

I look for the Steelers to get out to an early lead on Sunday night and never look back. The Ravens simply do not have enough athletes on the outside to cover the Steelers’ passing attack. JuJu Smith-Schuster will catch at least one long touchdown in this game, as the Ravens will attempt to shut down Antonio Brown. James Conner will have a huge game on the ground in the second half to salt away the game. Flacco will get the Ravens reasonably close in garbage time, but ultimately the Steelers will prevail.


Final Score: Steelers 37, Ravens 24


Written by: Jake Leicht